Strategery and tactickery in Eurasia


There is not enough data with which to do an adequate job of analysis on all that is occurring just now, but I think I must make a preliminary "stab" at it with the understanding that all this is subject to revision.

1.  Russia/Turkey.   "My dear friend" is what Erdogan called Putin several times yesterday, and now Erdogan has issued an "ultimatum" to the US to hand over Gulen or forget about its relationship to Turkey.  Firstly, lets get the nukes out of Incirlik.  Why tempt the sultan?  Secondly, does this mean that Turkey will abandon its support of the non-IS rebels in Syria?  My SWAG would be that it does not.  I would expect that Erdogan will try to have it both ways.  IMO he will try to surrepticiously continue to make Turkey available as strategic depth to the rebels while simultaneously trying to obtain Russian support against the emergence of anything like a Syrian statelet.  Whether or not the YPG Kurds and the SDF Arabs advance to al-Bab, heavy IS counterattacks should be expected as the occupation of Manbij threatens remaining  IS communications from Turkey to the Caliphate. 

2. Iraq.  The US/Iraqi effort on the axis Baghdad-Mosul is going to take a long time to develop.  The Iraqi Army and militia forces still have a long way to go to develop the kind of capability that the Pesh Merga and YPG Kurds already have.  A Clinton Administration advised by people like Morell and the AEI neocons would likely double-down on the Iraq effort with US ground troops to carry the offensives all the way to Raqqa and Mosul.   Would the US then let the Iraqi government run the country? IMO that is an open question.  Big Grandma (the Borg Queen) may well think that the children do not play together well enough to be left unsupervised.

3.  Afghanistan.   IS and the Taliban have made a deal to cooperate against the Kabul government.  This doesn't sound like good news.  The government is saddled with "forces of order" that are far too large and expensive for it to ever afford.  It seems to me that this makes the Afghan government something familiar to me, i.e., a regime with large, fairly clumsy forces trying to defend a number of more or less besieged localities against guerrillas who control the countryside.   All of this makes Afghanistan an unacknowledged overseas protectorate of the US.  Will Big Grandma double down there as well?

4.  Libya.  US, French and British SF are engaged on the ground in holding back the IS "hordes."  Well, smallish "Hordes," are evidently the case at present.  But … small "hordes" may grow.  What will Big Grandma do then?

5.  Ukraine.  I don't know.  Someone please tell me.

6.  Syria.  My SWAG is that R+6 will be able to seal off the penetration in SW Aleppo and re-isolate East Aleppo.   The jihadi friendly media are doing their best to depict the jihadi rebels and their supporters in the pocket as something like Robin Hood and his archers or maybe the Cisco Kid fighting off the forces of Spanish oppression.  That doesn't work very well.   Jihadis are, well, jihadis, but the process of myth building will probably make them heroic figures just as the Argentinian adventurer, Che Guevara has become a tee-shirt theme.  If the Turks do not provide enough support across the Hatay border crossings, the rebel losses at Aleppo and along the dusty, air stricken roads in Idlib will have greatly weakened the rebels.  We will then see if R+6 has enough strength and energy to launch an offensive into Idlib.  If not, then the Russians and Iranians will have to re-think their deployed strength levels in Syria.  pl

This entry was posted in Afghanistan, As The Borg Turns, Borg Wars, Current Affairs, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Middle East, Policy, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, The Military Art, Turkey, Yemen. Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Strategery and tactickery in Eurasia

  1. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    I would add to this list South China Sea, and the Korean Peninsula.

  2. Matthew says:

    Col: Ukraine. See
    What possibly could be Ukraine’s strategy, short of creating crisis and hoping, pleading, for NATO to intervene?
    The timing is also confusing. The rail links between Russia and Crimea supposedly won’t be ready until 2018.

  3. FB Ali says:

    IMO the Borg Queen will initially continue the Obama strategy of using SOF and air power, though on an increased scale. This strategy is successful in maintaining a government and holding big towns (as in Afghanistan), but cannot eradicate a Jihadi insurrection and establish peace and stability in a country. However, the US probably has no interest in doing that, since this provides the excuse and opportunity to deploy and keep US forces in that country or region.
    Ukraine? I think the US will continue to build up military power in Europe, especially Eastern Europe. Peace will depend on Putin keeping his nerve and not being provoked into an over-reaction.

  4. Low level war continues between Ukraine and Novorossiya. Several hundred artillery/mortar shells land on Novorossiyan territory daily. The latest incident was the Russian roll up of a budding Ukrainian terrorist network in Crimea. Several Ukrainian nationals were captured. Poroshenko put Ukrainian forces on high alert as a result. Putin made a typical cool, calm and collected comment. “Russian President Putin called as silly and criminal the attempt of a subversive act by the Ukrainian special services in Crimea aimed at distracting attention from Ukraine’s internal problems and from the authorities robbing their people.”

  5. Nightsticker says:

    Col Lang
    “the rebel losses at Aleppo and along the dusty,
    air stricken roads in Idlib will have greatly weakened
    the rebels.”
    I am not sure the Russians/Syrians actually planned it
    this way but It seems that the Jihadists in Aleppo have
    sort of “own goaled” themselves into the cauldron battle
    of Russian dreams.
    From what I can follow on the several Internet sources
    available [e.g South Front, Al-Masdar, FARS news, etc]
    the past week can be summed up as
    1. Jihadists mass for attack, suffer casualties under attack from
    fixed wing and artillery
    2. Jihadists attack SAA perimeter around them. If Jihadists locally
    successful, SAA retreats locally, then calls in fixed wing/arty
    on previous position. After Jihadists are destroyed, previous
    positions re-occupied by SAA.
    3. Narrow corridor under fire control of Russians/SAA is used
    by Jihadists to trickle in more fodder for (1) and (2) above.
    They even suffer heavy attrition on the way in. These doomed
    Jihadists are being drawn out of Idlib prov. and other places
    and concentrated in the cauldron.
    4. I am not reading anything that suggests heavy casualties
    on SAA side.
    5. The SAA seems to be winning without having to fight
    the door to door urban battle.
    USMC 65-72
    FBI 72-96

  6. Lemur says:

    Turkey is West Asia’s new coquette. Flirting with two power structures (NATO, EU, US vs SCO, Russia, EEU) to extract the most favourable concessions in a Dutch auction.
    Erdogan’s visit to the bear cave – his first foreign visit since last month’s urban tank ops – is an explicit troll of the West. Whether the Sultan’s new role as the Archbishop of Banterbury pays off remains to be seen.

  7. The Beaver says:

    Saw this , this morning:
    Tehran hosted top security meeting btw Erdogan,Assad officials recently. Another meeting to take place in the next few days.

  8. If you are going to use “strategery”, may I humbly suggest “tictactoetics”.

  9. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    Thank you for a thorough summary of the current state. Would it be fair to say that Afghanistan in addition to lacking cash, Afghanistan lacks the technical capability (maintenance, repairs) and training to use the equipment needed to support the forces it cant afford?
    Very concerned about why the current Ukraine (closely connected to HRC) is mobilizing at the Crimea border at this time.

  10. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Col. Lang,
    In regard to your item #6, Ukraine, here’s some information:
    I find it difficult to believe that Poroshenko would do this on his own initiative. What is happening under Obama is bad enough; just look for more of this sort of provocation and probing of Russian resolve under the reign of the Borg Queen. She and her neoconservative handlers, in the vein of that maniac, Morrell, are just dying to kick the hornet’s nest.

  11. Edward says:

    My guess for Ukraine: the government provokes a conflict to distract the public from a collapsing economy.

  12. turcopolier says:

    Yes. The maintenance contracts are yet another great source of graft. pl

  13. b says:

    1. Russia/Turkey – all serious Russian sources say nothing came out of the Erdogan/Putin talks. Neither committed to anything. The Russians play nice for the moment but they know that Erdogan can never be trusted – experience. Erdogan is still aiming for Aleppo and using Russia solely for pressuring the “West”.
    2. U.S. is holding back Iraqis who could have been much further with Mosul if they were allowed to bring in the serious (Shia) militia. Likely still a U.S. attempt to build an oil-rich Kurdistan (including Kirkuk) and the Saudi dream of a Sunni entity.
    3. IS in Afghanistan was initially an Afghan government ploy.
    The Islamic State in ‘Khorasan’: How it began and where it stands now in Nangarhar
    No real IS there as far as I can tell but everyone there seems to try to use the “brand” for his own purpose.
    4. ISIS in (north-)Libya always was and is just some handful of real ISIS guys from Iraq/Syria and a bunch of hired tribal fighters. No money – no hired tribal fighters. Down south is a different issue. Lots of Jihadi/tribal groups in competition.
    5. Ukraine
    U.S. building pincer wars Ukraine/Syria to cut down Russia/Putin. Recent infiltration attempt on Crimea was serious, build up for new war on east-Ukraine/Crimea ongoing. Current air-maneuvers in Ukraine may escalate into that. (Lots of U.S. troops around I hear – some covered some open)
    6. East-Aleppo is still cut off. No truck goes through. Mighty U.S. propaganda build up. (For what? All out attack on government held Aleppo?) Russian air base will become permanent and build up there continues. Serious Russian air strikes going on in Jihadi back court between Idleb and Aleppo.
    Consider each “hospital hit” lamented in U.S. media to be a hit on a headquarter/logistic center or something similar. That is nearer to the truth than the propaganda claims. Likely quite heavy losses for AQ and comrades.
    Latest Russian briefing:

  14. turcopolier says:

    As usual your otherwise excellent work suffers from a belief in the cleverness, omnipotence and continuity of US policy. pl

  15. SmoothieX12 says:

    Yes and No. It is not just Ukrainian government, which is, in fact, completely fragmented. Poroshenko is a pawn, even if an important one. Joe Biden may know a thing or two about what’s going on in Ukraine.

  16. Matthew says:

    Any significance to Turkey supposedly closing the Bab al Hawa crossing to Aleppo? See

  17. turcopolier says:

    Lee A Arnold
    How about “tactickery?” pl

  18. VietnamVet says:

    If anyone can figure out what is going on, it’s you.
    I think a quote from the movie “The Big Short” is applicable:
    Overheard at a Washington, D.C. bar: “Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry.”
    Corruption rules. The Saudis and Israel’s Supporters have bought the political establishment to promote their own interests. A Shiite ground corridor from Beirut to Tehran is unacceptable to the Gulf Monarchies and Israel. A World War is underway to assure that it is permanently severed. Additional bonuses are that the military contractors get funding and the endless wars destabilize the Kremlin. The consequences be damned.

  19. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The important thing was to give Erdogan a ladder from which he could climb down. We will have to wait and see as Russian sanctions are removed how Erdogan and AKP government will respond.
    My guess would be that at the moment, The Resistance Axis do not need Erdogan’s immediate action; but later, perhaps they would.

  20. SmoothieX12 says:

    (Lots of U.S. troops around I hear – some covered some open)
    Mostly on Yavorsky Range in Western Ukraine–to “teach” Ukrainians. The rest, who knows where;-) The war involving Russia is needed desperately, especially against the background of not so desirable for neocons-interventionists outcomes in Syria. This is to put it mildly. Once one begins to consider the trajectory of what and how hawks (or Borg) in US consider a decline–a lot becomes clear. Not only elections are involved here, albeit “Today we are all Ukrainians” moment is desperately needed, but it is also clear that situation in US economy is not that great, actually and volatility (politely speaking) is coming. Meanwhile, in related news, Russian banks yesterday declared the growth of profits…drum roll…13.5 times compared to the same period of 2015, while the export of capital from Russia dropped 4.5 times. Something is in the making and it is big.

  21. SmoothieX12 says:

    It was Will Ferrell’s breakout into big time after his stint as W on SNL. They were really good then.

  22. Brunswick says:

    In just salaries alone, the Afghan Security Forces, consume 44% of the Afghan GDP, most of which, (57%) is foreign aid.
    Were Afghanistan to become peaceful, stable and it’s economy to return to normal, Afghanistan’s GDP would be roughly $7 billion, which would “allow” Security Forces in the number of roughly 40,000 in total.

  23. different clue says:

    The Beaver,
    Hope this goes best possible. Hope this gets wrapped up so tightly by Clinton-time that Clinton has no way in.

  24. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Curious. ” Server not found” messages on both links. DDOS attack under way?

  25. Kooshy says:

    Colonel, TTG
    If you seen this news/report
    Don’t you think at this late stage, congress is trying to shift the blame to military (centcom) due to thier own coming reelection?

  26. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Now both links work again. Must have been a short term outage. I had thought it might be related to this: “Kovitidi told the independent television network Dozhd that Internet access has been disabled in the area to assist police in their efforts to apprehend armed “saboteurs” who allegedly infiltrated from mainland Ukraine.”

  27. Kooshy says:

    IMO, at this stage and how the MSM is covering Trump and his campaign, to disorient the media, and HillyBilly’ campaign, I would ask my voters and supporters not to disclose who and how they will vote to the media and the pollsters. Like PL said, there are too many forces havely mobilized against him, he needs to confuse them in any which way possible.

  28. Swamp Yankee says:

    I like “tactickery.” Closely mirrors the original.

  29. Les says:

    More on ‘NovoRussia’
    It seems to be getting very hot.
    Major shelling of civilian areas at multiple locations.
    More & more tanks & arty coming into the line.
    Regular Ukie units are getting a growing % of desertion, incl the ‘shoot yer officers & bolt to the other side with weapons’
    Regular units are being replaced with the ‘Affinity groups’, Chechens & other mercs.
    Probing & takeover of neutral ground are increasing.
    The attempted asassination of Plonitski increased the temperature.
    Donestsk Republic’s Zakhachenko suggested that next time LDR forces would end up in Kiev.
    My major source is “The New Cold War” site, specifically the LDR SitReps from DONi:
    I also use
    They have just broken the story that the Uke ‘Tornado’ volunteer battalion has been raping children & filming it on their cellphones.
    I’ve been saying that the Ukraine is being prepped as ‘an October Surprise’ in case HRC starts polling badly against ‘the Donald’ but things are getting so hot I wouldn’t be surprised to see major fighting erupt tomorrow.
    In respect to the sabotage/recce incursion into ‘Krim’, the Russian Foreign Ministry has just let out a press release that ends with “People should not play with fire”!

  30. Timothy Hagios says:

    Conspiracy theory:
    Russia agreed to the first BS “ceasefire” after Saudi Arabia and Turkey threatened open invasion. Perhaps the threatened Ukie attack on Crimea is a similar bargaining chip? Something alone the lines of, “If you save our jihadists in Aleppo, we’ll keep the Ukies from going in with a suicidal attack on Crimea.”

  31. SmoothieX12 says:


  32. turcopolier says:

    Terms for, what? pl

  33. turcopolier says:

    Timothy Hagios
    One caution. Saudi Arabia might be able to invade Bahrein but not more than that. Wallah! The Houthis have defeated their “invasion.” pl

  34. MRW says:

    Peace will depend on Putin keeping his nerve and not being provoked into an over-reaction.

  35. SmoothieX12 says:

    They have just broken the story that the Uke ‘Tornado’ volunteer battalion has been raping children & filming it on their cellphones.
    It is a rather old story–at least 10 days old. Even Kiev regime couldn’t ignore it. When even psycho (literally–she was evaluated) Chornovil goes ballistic, that tells you something. And she was the one who demanded Russian blood.

  36. Matthew says:

    Kooshy: I think Trump is actually doing that. That is why he’s now saying that President Obama and Hillary “founded” ISIS. This outrageous claim overshoots, but it does draw attention to that unfortunate interview President Obama gave last year where Obama thought the insurgency in Iraq would prompt political reforms (outcomes) more favorable to American interests. Considering that this lever on Iraq produced kidnapped Yezidi women sold at slave markets, I doubt President Obama wants to explain his “nuance” to the public.

  37. Matthew says:

    Col: I know you’ve addressed this before, but I still don’t understand why after all this time, the Iraqis and Saudis cannot develop that core of NCO’s or culture of military professionalism?

  38. jld says:

    Yes but it’s a bit unsettling that the Defence Ministry feel the need to publish such propaganda video:
    What is the intended audience/purpose?

  39. robt willmann says:

    Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Russia this week (and not the other way around) is obviously to try to shore up and solidify his present political position, especially with real problems in Turkey’s economy. In all of Erdogan’s maneuvering, there was one thing of importance that definitely got everyone’s attention: his suggestion that Turkey start paying for and settling trade with Russia using their money — the lira and ruble — and not the U.S. dollar. This of course is a lure to try to get Russia to resume economic activity with Turkey, after Russia cut it back after Turkey shot its plane down. But I think Russia will seriously consider it.
    Russia, China, and some other countries got tired of the financial fraud coming from the “West”, primarily the U.S. and Britain, and the militarism, and started to work out their own ways to settle trade using their own money, gold-backed trading documents, and so forth. This is to break away from using the U.S. dollar (and U.S. Treasury debt) as the “reserve currency” and “bank reserves” in banks around the world, because the real source of U.S. influence and “power” across the world is the U.S. dollar’s role as the reserve “money” for banks and its use in paying for trade in all types of goods and services, especially for oil and gas, the infamous Petrodollar.
    Some other countries (primarily China, I think) have also been developing computer servers and software for a system to route orders between banks around the world that is separate from the SWIFT system presently being used. A rumor is that it has been tested some, but it is a very complex undertaking, to write software that is compatible with banks around the world for different languages, with (relatively) secure networking links between them.
    Once other countries start using money other than the U.S. dollar for “bank reserves” and to pay for and settle trade between them, it will also be harder for the U.S. to unilaterally impose economic sanctions on other countries, and to get agreements with other countries to do them, and to enforce them. Then when the neocons and others who want to be King of the World continue to demand that other countries submit to their orders, they will start to see middle fingers being raised here and there. At that time, their only options will be to launch aggressive war, or to try to use covert action to bring about regime change. Those options are shrinking fast, with almost $20 trillion, plus interest, in acknowledged U.S. public debt, insolvent large banks (with derivatives), and some degree of domestic political resistance, especially from a destructive Middle East foreign policy for 25 years.

  40. SmoothieX12 says:

    Conspiracy theory:
    This is exactly what it is.

  41. irf520 says:

    It’s probably been suggested to them by US ‘representatives’ that from now to October would be a good time to ramp up for an attack. Then when the Russians turn round and smack them into the middle of next week Hillary and her media minions can say something like, “Look how brutal those horrible Russians are being to our poor little Ukrainian Nazi friends. And Trump wants to be friends with them.”

  42. LeaNder says:

    The question is, how and why such a plan succeeded to start with.

  43. LeaNder says:

    “What is happening under Obama is bad enough; just look for more …”
    No intention to defend Obama, but I would assume that the master sometimes does not control his apprentice perfectly.

  44. LeaNder says:

    Hmmm? OK.

  45. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    My layman’s guess would be that the purpose is to convey that two can play at a war of nerves. This particular production only focuses on a certain subset of piloted aircraft and aircraft carriers, but there were lessons to be gleaned – and hopefully taken to heart – from the earlier use by the Russian military of long-range cruise missiles and strategic bombers (no doubt capable of delivering not only conventional bombs but also stand-off weaponry) as well. The Bear shows_some_of his teeth; does the US wish to bait the Bear? God, I hope not, but there are some truly pathological, unbalanced people in positions of policy formulation and power in the US who give me pause when I think on these matters. The ones who advocate fervently for no-fly zones in Syria, the ones who stir up the Neo-Nazis in Ukraine, are those whom I have before my mind. No good can come of this chatter nor from these provocations.

  46. LeaNder says:

    ex-PFC, I have this too sometimes, not only on the web, by the way. 😉
    I deal with it as some type of remnant of what I like to call the syntactical remnants on my brain (just invented that) of my self-exploring experience in the US conspiracy universe in the post 9/11 universe. And please understand, I still have a big sympathy for their desire to understand.

  47. LeaNder says:

    Smoothie, I wondered if you are around, higher up.
    But: Poroshenko is a pawn, what’s your evidence?

  48. Ghostship says:

    Over at, Justin Raimondo has a good write up on what’s happening down south in Ukraine:
    And Pyatt, US ambassador to Ukraine, has been snorting something because he has a raging case of psychological projection.
    “Russia has a record of frequently levying false accusations at Ukraine to deflect attention from its own illegal actions.”

  49. jsn says:

    US policy isn’t perfect, it can’t ALWAYS be a disaster…
    Or maybe it can.

  50. SmoothieX12 says:

    It is Air Force Day in Russia today. Actually, the new style is Air-Space Forces Day. Just regular promotional and recruiting video–absolutely nothing special. Merely celebration.

  51. SmoothieX12 says:

    All TU-160s and many of TU-95s are capable of carrying X-101 (conventional) and X-102 (nuclear) cruise missiles. Those are true stand off weapons, stealthy and with the range of 5000+ kilometers. Inertial, GLONASS and terrain guidance.

  52. Thomas says:

    “No intention to defend Obama, but I would assume that the master sometimes does not control his apprentice perfectly.”
    Yes, Barack the apprentice is not fulfilling his masters’ wishes of destroying Russia, Syria, and Iran. They will just have to wait until the new apprentice is placed in the presiding chair, then it will be go time.

  53. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “We take our own culture for granted…”
    That is why repeated attempts at creating R&D centers around the world; in India, in China, in Vietnam and elsewhere have failed over and over again to produce anything matching the initial investments.
    The executives need to pay attention to the “Makkinejad Theses” and its implications; alas, even if they hear about it they would be loath to admit its relevance.

  54. Tunde says:

    MGen. Scales (rtd) wrote about Russian capabilities recently at the WaPo
    In yesterday’s Sun, there was a rather comical illustration of Russia’s highly developed “hybrid” warfare tactics that portrayed Russia as both menacing and formidable.
    Perhaps those in the military alliance are pushing back against Borgist bellicosity ?

  55. LondonBob says:

    Our new Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have initiated phone calls with their Russian counterparts with the intention of normalising relations.
    Nevertheless the media continue to increase the drum beats for war.

  56. Harper says:

    1. Ukraine: The Ukraine situation is heating up, at the very moment that Putin has scored another flanking move in the Middle East. Nobody, least of all Putin, will “trust” Erdogan, but Putin has created an encirclement of Turkey. First, the economic sanctions after the shoot-down of the Russian jet last year, badly damaged Turkey’s economy and this is a big concern of Erdogan. Turkey exported significant agricultural products to Russia, Russians were among the leading tourists in Turkey, and Turkey was looking to finalize the Turkey Stream pipeline deal, all of which went down the drain after the shoot-down. The day before he met with Erdogan, Putin was in Baku, meeting with President Aliyev of Azerbaijan and President Rouhani of Iran. They agreed to accelerate the building of the North-South Transportation Corridor, a rail link running from the Persian Gulf up into Europe via Russia. China will exploit this as a part of the One Belt, One Road program, and will help finance the rail links. Putin met with the Armenian President the day after he met with Erdogan, and he is pushing to resolve the Nagorno-Karabak problem, which will improve security throughout the Caucasus region, and provide the crucial final partnership link for the North-South Corridor. Turkey stands to greatly benefit by being part of this realignment. I wonder if this has been in any way coordinated with the Kerry-Lavrov diplomacy, which continues in Geneva at the technical working group level every day.
    Ukraine has escalated in this context. Russia claims it foiled a terrorist plot in Crimea and linked that plot to the Ukraine intelligence services. I don’t know how accurate the Russian claims are, but Putin is threatening a cut off of diplomacy, and has said a Normandy Four heads of state meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in China next month may be of no use. This puts pressure on the Europeans, especially Germany and France, to pressure Kiev to back off. Kerry and Lavrov have been working on the Donbass situation in their regular talks, and a few months back, there were expectations of some positive movement. That seems to be nullified for now, and I always keep in mind the mischief by Victoria Nuland’s crowd, and the ever-present George Soros Open Society Institute.

  57. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Col. Lang, All;
    The attached link presents some speculations and some documents. It might provide useful information for those pondering Turkey, the gulen gang, their ties to clinton, etc.
    BTW, tayyip’s announcement about the use of local currencies (Turkish Liras and Russian Roubles) in bilateral trade between Turkey and Russia is being implemented.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  58. Thomas says:

    “…I think the Gulen issue will ultimately explode in somebody’s face in the U.S. The only questions are whose, and when.”
    An answer to whose and when, prominent fellows from The Faction and before Halloween.

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